Where I Find You
Beta'd by Galenchia
"I thought I would find you here."
Naruto jerked back and looked at the young man over his shoulder. He swallowed, his hand gripped tightly around the kunai's shaft.
"Oh. Sasuke. What do you want?"
Sasuke wrinkled his eyebrows. Naruto was acting again. Acting like the idiot he was, trying to hide his feelings. Sasuke had always had good eyes, and he knew when something wasn't right, especially with Naruto. "Nothing. I was just looking for you."
Naruto let his head sink until his chin touched his chest, taking a deep breath. He liked this place very much. He could see the whole village from here. And if he peered over the edge, he could see from above the faces of the Hokage, from the first to the sixth. But Naruto's legs were dangling over the edge, so he didn't really need to lean to see them. He could see them perfectly well. He saw all the way to the big gate and the forest behind. He saw the green trees, some of which had that were not yet fully grown. He saw the soft grass beneath his bottom, and saw the small white flowers.
The wind that blew so high ruffled his hair, and he was sure Sasuke's hair was blown, as well. It was a warm breeze, and a beautiful day.
When Naruto was younger, he'd loved this kind of day. He felt at home with the warm sun on his skin and the world full of life. He would go to the lake in the forest - the one he could see now if he looked very carefully - and he would swim, and then lay on the shore without a thread on his body. It was no wonder that his skin was so tanned.
But he had also come to realize that he wasn't the only one that liked this kind of days.
Now he loved the rain. No one would go out in the rain, or, at least, not many people would.
What a mess it was to go out on a beautiful day.
"Sasuke, please. Tell me."
"Tell you what, dobe?"
"Tell me what you have on your shoulders. You wouldn't look for me with lack of reason."
That was true.
Things were silent for a while. Sasuke didn't know what to say. He had spent too much time with Naruto, and now Naruto knew him so well. He really did have something to talk about. And Naruto was the first person he'd thought of to talk to. He sighed and sat down on the green grass, leaning his arms against his knees, and gave a big sigh.
"I'm just nervous about tomorrow."
Naruto had to swallow again. It was coming up, and he could feel the metallic taste on the back of his tongue. His heart began to hurt as much as his stomach.
"Everything will be fine, Sasuke. You don't have to worry. Tomorrow is going to be the best day of your life," he added a smile to that. Yes, Sasuke would be happy: That, he didn't need to worry about. And Sakura would be happy, too. They would be fine. Kakashi would always be alright; it wasn't like he cared anyway, or at least not as much. And the others...yes, they would also be fine. He didn't need to worry about any of them.
And he didn't need to lie. So he smiled.
Sasuke pulled at the grass beside him, feeling the flat strands between his fingers. It made him feel peaceful, when he was in nature. Naruto was leaning forward. It sounded like he was smiling as he spoke, smiling that beautiful smile that Sasuke found was sometimes sad. But now it sounded happy. Maybe he wasn't acting? And why would he act?
He let his eyes drop to the ground. He knew why.
"But what if it's a mistake?" He saw the blonde's hair ruffle when he shook his head.
"Sasuke, you have been together for a long time now. I am surprised you didn't marry her sooner. You are made for each other, and you look so happy every time I see you with her."
But Sasuke couldn't feel anything but worried. Of course he loved Sakura…but like a sister. He couldn't really see himself sleeping with her. And yet, he had a clan to make. Sakura was the strongest woman in the whole country, right after Tsunade, who was rather old now.
Sasuke couldn't help the strong feelings he had towards the boy in front of him. Every time he saw him, his heart skipped a beat, and he wanted to talk to him, share his deepest secrets with him. But Sasuke knew this was wrong. He knew it was wrong to have those thoughts and have those feelings for his best friend, Naruto. He knew 'they' would never happen, and that nothing would ever change. Naruto had always loved someone else.
"But..." he began.
"You'll be fine," Naruto said, cutting him short. No doubts. Not now. Not like this, not when he was like this. There was no going back. It was too late. "You should go down and get ready. You know: fix and clean some. You will have the whole village as guests." Naruto would not come. A tear rolled down his whiskered cheek. He had wanted to see Sasuke happy. Although he had already planned on leaving the village after the wedding, he would have stayed long enough to see this person - to whom his heart belonged - be happy. Now he wouldn't see that.
Maybe it was for the best...? Yes, maybe it was.
He looked up in the sky; the heavens were blue. He imagined that his eyes had that color, although they were likely a little dazed at the moment. He hadn't looked at himself in a mirror for a long time now. It was no wonder. White clouds sailed through the sky, sometimes across the yellow sun. Birds, many of them, flew together with the clouds. They were coming back from their winter-break in warmer countries; in warmer places and lands. Naruto hadn't bothered to see where they'd gone. It wasn't really his business.
"Naruto, look at me and say it will be alright."
Sasuke saw how Naruto turned his head and looked at him from over his shoulder. He looked right into Sasuke's eyes, though the tears fell from his own, and he smiled one of his dearest smiles.
"Sasuke, you will be fine. Everything will be fine. Trust me. Don't worry. Just...everything will be fine, I promise you that."
"Why are you crying?"
"I'm just happy."
Naruto turned his head away again. Why was he crying? That was the question on Sasuke's mind.
Was he so sad that Sasuke took Sakura from him? Did he really seem that evil to Naruto? Didn't he want to see Naruto happy?
"Naruto. I told you what was on my heart. Tell me what's on yours."
Naruto didn't reply. This was his last chance. It was time. Could it be that the fates had brought Sasuke right here, right now, just so he could tell him in a last breath? His fingers tightened around the kunai, and he began to breathe harder and deeper.
"You know..." he began. He took another deep breath. "Do you know what it's like to always be second? Of course you don't. Silly of me to think so. But if you could imagine: It's...It's hard. It hurts, you know, in your chest. I know. It always hurts. It hurts here in my chest." He knew he was saying too much, but his mind was clouded. "I've always been second, immediately after everyone else. Sometimes I thought...thought that it was just my imagination. But I can tell. When someone doesn't look at me when we are on a mission, when I don't get to do something, when it seems that I'm in the way...my powers don't matter. Kyuubi is all you can see. And don't say otherwise; I know it's true."
Sasuke didn't know what to say, and he never had a chance to speak before Naruto continued.
"Kakashi always picked you. He took you for training for the Chuunin-exams. He didn't want to train a demon. And Sakura never looked my way. Filthy: That is what I am, what I feel. Why would she? Why would...she...And when I saved you from the attack from the Sand and Sound, when I saved both you and Sakura from Gaara: I...no one really appreciated it, you know. If you had saved us, the whole village would have cheered. But not when the demon did it. Not when I...I did it. I didn't get a 'thank you'. I didn't even get a glance..."
"I never knew it hurt you so much - "
"IT DID. It did..." He was biting down his sobs now. His breath was hard, and it hurt. It hurt so much. "It did...And it hurt when they chose a new Hokage after Tsunade-baachan. I was so excited. I had dreamed of that day...but they could never chose a demon. No, they picked the third's grandchild. I should have seen that coming...it could never be me... But what hurt the most was when...when you left me. Of course you had to go to Orochimaru; I never could have helped you to become strong. But it still hurt. Hurt to see your back disappearing in the forest."
Sasuke bit his lower lip, trying to hold back his tears. He never knew he had hurt Naruto so much. He had been the key to all the evil, pain, hurt, and sorrow. He had. He who was supposed to love the younger man had been this.
"But it's okay. You have nothing to apologize for, and so I have nothing to forgive. 'Cause I know you handled it the right way, you know. I would have done the same thi-thing. You see, the worst moment of it all...ah...was when I realized that I put myself as second as well...ah...It was...it is terrible..."
The tears rolled down from his eyes.
"I don't sleep anymore...I don't eat unless it feels like I'm going to pass out of hunger. I don't go out on the...on the days...any...anymore..."
Sasuke grabbed his chest, where his heart clenched. It was horrible. Why hadn't he seen it? How could Naruto smile when he had such pain? How could he get up in the morning, acting like everything was alright?
"And then you...then you...ah...are going to marry her." His voice broke, but he didn't care. "You look so happy with her. I...I hate it..."
"You can have her! I won't marry her! I promise! I give her to you! I just...I just don't want to see you cry, Naruto! Do you under...understand that?"
"You don't get it! It's not her that I want! I never wanted her! All I wanted was for YOU to see me, for YOU to love me! But you never saw me...never see me...never...always...always second. No one sees me...never..."
"Naruto..." he cried. He hadn't cried in years. The last time had been when he left Naruto. That was a long time ago. But he cried now. "Naruto...Naruto...you idiot! You never...never told me!"
"How could I?" the answer came. "You would never care!" It hurt. It hurt so fucking much.
"Naruto...god, Naruto..." Sasuke pushed himself up and walked on shaky knees over to the trembling back. He embraced the boy, laying his arms around his chest, hugging him hard, pressing him to himself, to his beating chest.
"But, Naruto...god, Naruto, I always saw you. I have always loved you..." Should Naruto's heart be pumping this slowly? Should he be this cold?
And Naruto turned his head, and Sasuke caught his lips. It was not a passionate kiss, but it told each of their feelings. Their feelings that never should have been told, the ones that should have been kept quiet. Forever. But it was too late, now.
"Really?" he asked when they broke free.
"Really," Sasuke answered and smiled.
"That...makes me...ah...so...ha...happy..." Naruto smiled, and leaned back into Sasuke's lap. He played with the bangs of Sasuke's black hair, his pulse going down, and the blood still flowing from his stomach.
And Sasuke watched the scene in horror. He watched the blood pour from Naruto's stomach, how three kunai stuck out from the open, deep wound. Naruto's clothes where soaked, and the grass in front of him was covered in thick, dark blood. Naruto's pants became more frequent, together with the sobs.
"N...Na..Naruto? Wha...what have you done?"
"It wasn't...ahh...ahh...it wasn't me Sa...sasu...uke... but I have to...blame...my...myself. I went out...on a day...when people could...could see me..."
"They saw me...they got a...ah...angry..." Naruto's sobs became worse. "Maybe...I made them angry...they got mad...took their...wea...weapons..."
Sasuke couldn't do anything but hold the fragile body in his arms. It was too late. Not even Tsunade could save him now. Both she and Naruto were too weak. There was nothing he could do. He cried, his tears running down his face, dripping onto Naruto's own.
"Don't cry, Sasuke."
"Why...why didn't you tell me right away?!" he almost screamed. "I could have helped you! You stupid...!"
"I...I have always...put myself as s...se...second. Sa...suke had something on...on his mind...I had to listen..."
He couldn't take it. A hand gently caressed his cheek, drying away his tears. Why?
"Pro...romise me that you'll marry her, Sasuke. Be happy."
"Shh...Naruto, don't talk. It'll be fine...shh..."
"I...I'm scared Sasuke!"
"Shh...god, my beloved Naruto..."
"It hurts...so...so much..."
The eyes darkened.
The hand dropped from his cheek, and with a small smile, Naruto closed his eyes. His face never dried. It remained wet from Sasuke's never ending tears.
The birds chirped.